Series 1 - Peter Harvey Sims and Jemima Cook Family

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Peter Harvey Sims and Jemima Cook Family

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Biographical history

The Sims family were early white settlers of what is now Hawkesville, Ontario. Members of the family are the descendants of Reverend James Sims was born ca.1812 in Insch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. On June 1, 1836, he married the widow Janet Harvey Robertson and in 1837 came to what is now Canada with a large party of relatives: his father and mother, his wife and step-children Alexander, John and Jane Robertson, his brothers Peter and Andrew Sims, his sister Margaret, and nephews James and Peter Sims.

In 1838 the family settled as squatters on Queen's Bush land near Hawkesville in Wellesley Township. James and Margaret Sims had four children: Janet Sims, (1838-1926), James Campbell Sims (1842-1929), Peter Harvey Sims (1844-1920) and William Andrew Sims (1846-1930). James Sims died October 31, 1880. Both he and his descendants played an active role in the the educational, religious and commercial development of what is now the Region of Waterloo.

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Records documenting the lives, activities and interests of Peter Harvey Sims and his wife Jemima Cook, of Peter's interactions with his father James Sims, mother Janet Harvey Sims, step-brother John Robertson, sister Janet McQueen, and business partners, and childhood records and young adulthood records relating to their children Harvey and Rella.
Letters from Jemima's sisters shed light on girls' and women's lives in the latter half of the 19th century, the activities available, the desolation of being socially isolated, detailed recounting of the deaths of loved ones, all interspersed with everyday news of family and friends.
In his letters to family, Peter displays an articulate and caring nature, a love of his children and family, and good sense of humour. He writes long letters; the larger the paper the larger his writing, and he never hesitates to offer Harvey advice and opinions on Harvey's actions and activities, most of which fall short of Peter's expectations. Whenever Peter and Jemima travel together or alone, Peter surveys the social, economic, cultural, architectural state of the place visited, the habits, dress and morals of the inhabitants, and its agricultural and business prospects.

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Donated in 2019 by the Sims Family.


Arranged roughly by familial relationship: correspondence to and from husband and wife, family, children, then friends and acquaintances both before and after marriage, then documents and ephemera retained in the course of business and activities such as legal documents, business correspondence, ephemera, etc.

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  • English

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Described July 2019 JSB

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  • English

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